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Your letters on West Norfolk Councillor Grants, our Turnstone column, asylum seekers, second homes tax and a King’s Lynn Court case





Here are the letters from the Tuesday Lynn News of August 15, 2023.

How did street party get more than £1,000?

West Norfolk Council has just renewed the Councillor Community Grants Scheme which means it allocated £1,000 (per councillor) to hand out on a first come, first served, basis.

Council leader Terry Parish had this to say about it: “These grants give each of our borough councillors the ability to make a difference in their wards.”

In a large and rural borough, our communities face a range of challenges in accessing and delivering services or activities.”

This scheme is designed to help with that. It gives our communities the ability to apply for small grants that help to make a difference at a very local level.”

So how did a Castle Rising street party qualify for £1,250 (over 40%) last year?

Robert Gardner

South Wootton

John Maiden's Turnstone column last week
John Maiden's Turnstone column last week

Piece brought back great memories

The article about the English electric Lightning by John Maiden in his Turnstone column evoked a few memories about my service in the RAF during the Cold War.

I was employed on the Lightning for well over five years at RAFs Middleton St George, Leuchars and Guetersloh, the latter being in former West Germany.

This aircraft gave stalwart service for many years but for those of us who were its ground engineers, it could be quite problematic, especially for the airframe and engine fitters.

These two trades expended many ground man hours in the hangar to keep the Lighting operational.

For a start, it leaked like a sieve so in the hangar, drip trays under the fuselage were mandatory.

My job as a squadron armourer was to keep the ejection seats and other escape aids serviceable, removing them periodically for deep servicing and fitting them again afterwards.

Armourers were also responsible for the weaponry this aircraft carried, Fire Streak or Red Top air-to-air missiles and a pair of 30mm calibre aircraft cannon.

We did squadron detachments to Malta, Cyprus or Sardinia for air gunnery armament practice camps and to Wales for live missile shoots.

At Leuchars, Quick Reaction Alert (Battle Flight) scrambles were many as the Lightnings of 74 or 23 Sqns got airborne to intercept Recco aircraft of the Soviet Union who were probing our air defence systems.

Likewise at Guetersloh which was only a couple of minutes flying time from the East/West German border and the ADIZ (Air Defence Identification Zone).

My wife Lesley, a former member of the WRAF in the air traffic control branch at Leuchars, assisted in many of the above-mentioned scrambles.

In Germany on a QRA scramble from the alert sheds we could launch our aircraft in a couple of minutes.

Following the hooter sounding, aircrew and ground crew hurtled from their accommodation into the shed, the pilot strapping in assisted by a groundcrew member, then the cockpit access ladder was removed as he signalled to start up the engines.

Another signal from the cockpit and the aircraft was marshalled out of the shed, turning into the direction of the main runway.

The nose dipped as toe brakes were briefly applied, then with blue/purple flame bursting from the jet pipes as full re-heat was applied, he hurtled down the runway, disappearing into the night sky.

Believe me, the adrenalin flowed for those brief couple of minutes, the many exercises that we had, especially in Germany, meant that we could get our aircraft away within the prescribed time laid down by NATO should the Cold War have become hot.

Today, there are many Lightnings displayed in aviation museums or owned by conservation groups where enthusiast volunteers beaver away to restore them to static ground display.

One that really stands out is mounted on a pole outside of a garage in Liskeard, Cornwall.

Turnstone's very interesting chat with his friend Sqn Ldr David Jones really does show the enthusiasm that fighter pilots of that era had for the Lightning.

For those interested, there are some good books out there written by former Lightning pilots.

They were all very fond of this last RAF fighter aircraft that was totally British-made.

Alan Mudge

Pentney

Well it was good enough for us in Navy

Those serving in the post-war Royal Navy in the last century knew well HM Naval Base, Portland, undergoing training to ensure HM Ships were ready to join the fleet.

Portland naval base closed in 1995, and the naval air station in 1999. In a naval career, sailors made multiple visits to Portland. Not once do I recall criticism from Britons ashore about naval ratings’ accommodation standards on board ship, leading hands and ABs then living in mess decks of 30, with three-tier bunks.

Comfortable it was not, particularly in rough seas, but Jolly Jack just got on with it, “life in a blue suit” the common refrain.

Fifty asylum seekers are now on board the accommodation barge Bibby Stockholm, more to follow.

This barge’s accommodation and facilities are far better than in ships of HM Fleet, naval ratings at sea 24/7, protecting our island nation and British interests worldwide. Yet today, some British civilians complain that this barge is unsuitable for people who have just arrived in our country, most of them uninvited. Am I allowed a wry smile?

Lester May

Lieutenant Commander, Royal Navy – retired

This scheme could be expanded

One of the latest proposals from the regime now holding sway in West Norfolk is the idea of doubling Council Tax on second homes.

Clearly, we have housing issues in the region and Leader Terry Parish sees second homes as luxuries which are legitimate targets but this notion of the state wading in and taking a dim view of private property which isn't being used for one family has traction I believe.

Maybe, in time, there's potential to expand this idea? Perhaps we could increase the tax on farmland where landowners have more than one farm and frankly, we could also be looking at sequestering money from people with more than say £2 million in the bank. Let's double the tax on surpluses in bank accounts. If you own more than one car perhaps, we could super tax that unnecessary luxury motor.

If we start with a hit list of second homeowners and get the anomalies ironed out maybe we should try taxing luxury unused spare bedrooms again.

This levelling up malarkey has all kinds of applications when you think about it but I fear it'll not really be very popular with a lot of Conservatives and the wealthier cohort and so I suspect Terry Parish might need to look to communism to expand this radical wealth redistribution fandango!

Steve Mackinder

Denver

Remember, nobody is above the law

Permit me please to respond to the letter of Dr Charlie Gardner about climate change in last Tuesday’s Viewpoint.

It centred on the trial of the 'Barclays Two' Extinction Rebellion members accused of breaking the windows at a Norwich Branch of Barclays Bank, a case to be heard in Lynn Magistrates Court.

The doctor very eloquently expressed views on climate change and was professional through the forum of a letters column with a thesis.

Beyond that, we have a disagreement, encapsulated in the last paragraph of the correspondence, which I quote verbatim.

"For the sakes of Lynn, its court, and all the residents and property owners of our great but vulnerable town, let's hope these activists win their case". The case in court is not about ideology, but criminal damage emanating from offending behaviour. Nobody is above the law! If misconduct is allowed to continue unchecked, we are in the territory of law and disorder.

David Fleming

Downham



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